*BEWARE OF SPOILERS*
A college reunion turns dark and deadly in this chilling and propulsive suspense novel about six friends, one unsolved murder, and the dark secrets they’ve been hiding from each other—and themselves—for a decade.
Jessica as I character I thought was very multi-faceted and interesting! She does come across as a bit unlikeable and her thought process was definitely different but seeing how everything unfolded from her perspective especially was very entertaining and kept me engaged in the narrative.
As for the rest of the characters it took me a little while to differentiate between them all at the start. They all seemed so similar and through Jessica’s perspective they were all kind of muddled together for a while. Eventually as the book progressed and we find out more and more about each of them and what secrets they have been hiding from their time in college it became a lot more easier to form a connection with them. I wasn’t overly fond of any of the characters to be perfectly honest but I knew each of them served a purpose.
Heather though we don’t really get that much interaction from in the past I feel. She is kind of just mentioned in passing a lot and the focus is so much more on Jessica and how she is feeling throughout her experience at Duquette and it really isn’t until the second half of the book that we see the levels of jealously Jessica holds towards her. I like the fact that we don’t really know what Heather’s intentions truly are, I mean she chose Jessica over her best friends and roommate after just meeting her and we see throughout the plot that she downplays a lot of her achievements and makes everything seem so effortless and easy when others are silently struggling.
The pacing of the book was perfect for me and the switch between the timelines was seamless and made the story flow smoothly. There was a gradual build up of tension between all of the characters and it was fun to kind of pick apart all of their actions and see who is truly behind the murder. It did seem quite obvious who the killer was butt here were so many twists and revelations throughout that it would be easy to overlook. And that ending scene was crazy!
⭐️5/5 stars This was a suspenseful, twisty, haunting and graphic thriller!
*Definite spoilers below*
Getting snowed in at a beautiful, rustic mountain chalet doesn’t sound like the worst problem in the world, especially when there’s a breath-taking vista, a cosy fire, and company to keep you warm. But what happens when that company is eight of your co-workers…and you can’t trust any of them?
I definitely preferred Erin over every other character in this book. I felt like she was the most fleshed out and we got more of a background with her and how she ended up at the chalet. I thought she was a very realistic character and all of the choices that she made would be the same if I was in that situation. I felt very sympathetic towards her and I liked the way she thinks and how she managed to figure out in the end who was behind it all!
Liz was written in a way that kind of forced sympathy from the reader on to her. Always being forgotten by the other Snoop employees and just disappearing into the background. In hindsight, there are definitely clues spread throughout the course of the plot that point to her but they weren’t so obvious to me. I don’t see how she thinks she’s the victim in all of this, sure she had something horrific happen to her and Eva really leaned on that and used it to manipulate her but to resort to killing people is just a bit of a stretch to me.
There was just a lot of characters and not enough time for me to get to know them all and differentiate between them. We got a little bit of history and background on each of them but not enough for me to remember each of them specifically. Usually I don’t really care for learning too much about each of the characters but when we are in a forced proximity setting I would like to be able to recognise each of them.
Other than that I really enjoyed the story and how the plot unfolded. The pace was on the slower side for the majority of the book but once the avalanche happens things really speed up and I was on the edge of my seat from there. I’m still quite new to the mystery/thriller genre so a lot of the plot twists and tropes I haven’t come across yet and everything is still fresh and exciting for me and I thought the same for this book!
⭐️4/5 stars Atmospheric and suspenseful!
In the last days before her death, Nel Abbott called her sister. Jules didn’t pick up the phone, ignoring her plea for help. Now Nel is dead. They say she jumped. And Jules has been dragged back to the one place she hoped she had escaped for good, to care for the teenage girl her sister left behind.
As a character I didn’t particularly like Jules or feel any kind of connection to her so I wasn’t that invested in the story as whole because of that. Throughout the book she never surprised me or did something that would encourage me to be on her side. Sure she had something horrific happen to her when she was a child and the other children and her sister were horrible to her but none of that had anything to do with Nel’s death and the deaths of all the other women at the pool. It did give us some context as to Nel’s character and I can see why Jules would believe that her sister was so callous all these years.
Lena just got on my nerves for the majority of the story as well. I can appreciate that she just lost her mum and is in mourning at the moment but her attitude and brattiness was annoying. She was very selfish in keeping that secret about Katie and I was 100% on Louise’s side for telling her that! She would of eased their minds months and months ago about why Katie killed herself had she just told the family about the relationship.
I feel like Louise bless her was the most realistic out of all the characters in this book. Her grief over her daughter’s death and her unwillingness to give up and figure out the cause of it all felt so real and raw. I can’t imagine what she would be going through but she knew that Nel and Lena had something to do with it and ultimately they did.
I liked the structure of the book, having the multiple perspectives really gave us a lot of context and upped the mystery factor as to who was behind Nel’s death. The pacing was just a little off though, there wasn’t enough reveals or twists for me, it was just one big build up to the standoff with the Townsend’s. It was original, unlike anything I’ve read so far and ultimately was just an ok for me!
⭐️3/5 stars Very eerie, dark and wet!
Teddy Crutcher has won Teacher of the Year at the esteemed Belmont Academy, home to the best and brightest. He says his wife couldn’t be more proud—though no one has seen her in a while. Teddy really can’t be bothered with the death of a school parent that’s looking more and more like murder or the student digging a little too deep into Teddy’s personal life. His main focus is on pushing these kids to their full academic potential. All he wants is for his colleagues—and the endlessly meddlesome parents—to stay out of his way. It’s really too bad that sometimes excellence can come at such a high cost.
Teddy’s character was interesting for sure. It was kind of nice to get that insight into his brain and they way that he thinks. He is quite a petty person and he goes the extra mile for slights that any normal person would probably overlook. His aspiration to be the principal wasn’t really mentioned throughout the majority of the plotline so it was definitely a surprise to see that that was his end goal. I don’t quite understand why he didn’t mention to anyone that he was separated from his wife either. I think that is a very easy lie to uncover so what would be the point?
I didn’t develop any connection with Zach. Sure he added dimension to the storyline and was able to ultimately figure out what Teddy was up to even though he didn’t have any proof. I would of liked to get Courtney’s perspective though, her thoughts on her mother before she was killed and then whilst she was in jail. I feel like so much more happens to Courtney than Zach and I think if we could of had both point of views I would of been way more invested and interested!
Sonia bless her was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. She was over the top and was a little too invested in Belmont and the accolades being a part of the ‘family’ gave her but other than just getting on Teddy’s nerves she was harmless I feel. After his first failed attempt on her life I thought he would give up and she would be safe but the fact that she wasn’t overlooked in his plans really upped the stakes.
I really enjoyed the fact that Fallon makes an appearance and we find out more about what happened to her after Teddy receives her emails. I think what he did to her without any proof was horrible but after finding out what she did when she was at Belmont it made me feel less sorry for her. Which makes sense why she still isn’t over what happened and ends up back at Belmont hellbent on revenge.
Overall this was just ok for me. I appreciated the fact that no character was safe and we didn’t definitively know who was behind it until quite a fair way into the plot. I just wasn’t drawn in to the book as much as what I thought I would be. Even though it’s a relatively short novel it took me three days to finish it when I could of easily done it in one. This tells me I was able to put it down and the urge wasn’t there for me to pick it back up straight away and find out what happens. I think the ending was justified and I was ultimately satisfied!
⭐️3/5 stars Unlike anything I’ve ever read before!
Josh Baxter, the man behind the wheel, is a virtual stranger to Charlie. They met at the campus ride board, each looking to share the long drive home to Ohio. Both have good reasons for wanting to get away. For Charlie, it’s guilt and grief over the murder of her best friend, who became the third victim of the man known as the Campus Killer. For Josh, it’s to help care for his sick father. Or so he says. Like the Hitchcock heroine she’s named after, Charlie has her doubts. There’s something suspicious about Josh, from the holes in his story about his father to how he doesn’t seem to want Charlie to see inside the car’s trunk.
I sympathised with Charlie throughout the course of the book. I honestly can’t imagine what she has gone through, losing her parents and then having your best friend murdered. It is just so tragic and I can see why she would choose to flee and want to go back home to recuperate, especially after we find out she tried to kill herself. She just makes a few choices in this book that just didn’t sit right with me, and I get that she couldn’t really trust her own mind but there were I feel various times when she was with Josh that she could of escaped before her epiphany in the diner.
Of course we are immediately told to be untrusting of Josh and I for sure thought he was the killer. He really played on Charlie’s fragile state of mind in the car and really did a good job convincing her and the reader that he was the one who did it. The flashback as well I feel really reinforced the idea in my mind that he was the Campus Killer.
I know that grief takes many forms but I think that its quite despicable that Maddy’s family would blame Charlie and abuse her on the phone the way they did. Obviously given the twist where we find out who’s behind the whole hostage situation that Maddy’s family isn’t capable of making sound decisions. It was definitely surprising when we find out that Marge is in on the whole thing but then once she tells Charlie who she is I was more disgusted that she would stoop to that level. The fact that she would maim and torture a twenty year old girl in order to force her to conjure an image in her mind really displays just how far some people are willing to go to find the truth, especially when they have nothing left to lose.
The format of the book with the time being displayed as almost a countdown was a great way to keep me invested and eager to read on. There are several twists in the story that I didn’t see coming at all and happened at just the right intervals of the plot to keep the pace consistently fast. This was entertaining, gripping and had me on the edge of my seat throughout!
⭐️4/5 stars Riley Sager has done it again for me!